Le Mans 1955 is a stunning short animated film about the worst crash in motorsport history

The race that almost killed racing…

The scene unfolds at Le Man’s Circuit de la Sarthe. This is where motorsport giants Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Jaguar were set to battle for endurance racing supremacy. Jaguar was coming out swinging with its new slippery D-Type race cars and fancy disc brakes. Mercedes-Benz was ready though, with the mighty 300SLR. And you can never count out Ferrari. What those in attendance were not counting on was the scene of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of many.

The film above is worth every bit of your next 15 minutes. It’s tragic and beautiful. The voice acting is powerful. The artwork is gorgeous. And the subject matter is… devastating.

I wasn’t trying to bring you down the day before Thanksgiving. But here we are…

[YouTube via Jalopnik]

9 Comments

  1. There once was a time when brilliant men and their ingenious machines sought out the edges of what was humanly possible. They cheated Death regularly. But, sometimes, Death had his say despite their bravissimo. We now can go as fast as physics allow. Racing is no longer Man testing himself, in an epic struggle against the very forces of Nature. The only test is money.

    But I remember the time before.

  2. There once was a time when brilliant men and their ingenious machines sought out the edges of what was humanly possible. They cheated Death regularly. But, sometimes, Death had his say despite their bravissimo. We now can go as fast as physics allow. Racing is no longer Man testing himself, in an epic struggle against the very forces of Nature. The only test is money.

    But I remember the time before.

  3. There once was a time when brilliant men and their ingenious machines sought out the edges of what was humanly possible. They cheated Death regularly. But, sometimes, Death had his say despite their bravissimo. We now can go as fast as physics allow. Racing is no longer Man testing himself, in an epic struggle against the very forces of Nature. The only test is money.

    But I remember the time before.

  4. One point is that from an interview with John Fitch I don’t think Neubauer needed convincing that they should withdraw, but the Mercedes board had to approve.

  5. John Fitch, the protagonist depicted here, spent the latter part of his career developing automotive and racing safety systems. He is directly responsible for developing the “Fitch Barrier,” that arrangement of sand-filled plastic barrels that has become the ubiquitous protector of obstructions and gore points on US freeways. While it might seem an obvious thing, someone had to experiment with different types of barrels and different consistencies of sand. And someone had to conduct tests by strapping into car and crashing into the barriers. And that someone was Fitch.

  6. Wow. I finally had time to watch this in one sitting, and I’m glad I did. Magnificently done, and very poignant.

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